Love and beauty and all things shiny

The sweet things that lift your heart…

It’s been awhile since I’ve touched a brush to a page and let my heart spill through color into the world.  Sometimes in my Yoga practice I am so taken by the amount of love pressing through me into a vast fullness of stars and people and galaxies, and I wonder why it’s so easy to stumble over these little things that show up on this winding path of living.  I think expressing art, on a screen like this or on a page with a brush or however you choose to show your love and intrigue, is the most natural way to check back IN with the center that leads and guides and re-minds us what is True.  And what is true is all of it, right?  The questions of a human stumbling along, the flight of an angel expanding through a star, the meandering of an ant taking over the world…

I wonder how to love a little more fully in a world where we are taught to close our doors.  We are taught to follow along, or if not then to watch our backs because stepping out of line is a big steady risk… But the act of Love is worth it.  It’s what makes us happy, and so much more aLive!  Alive.  We are just so blessed to feel blood moving slowly and swiftly through the highways of our veins, absorbing our slow deep breaths and feeding our minds to witness Color, children, clouds, curbs.  It’s all really amazing to wander through and touch with your heart, consider your capacity to Love.

Why do we forget?  Why get caught up in social games and concerns?  Why not re-member that feeling of being a child exploring a new place to play and dream, why not write a new Now to Fall in Love with all over again?  Why not take the time to put Color to the page, in the midst of busy moments or instead of the drone of a hypnotizing electric box or page?  Why not take a deep breath and think of how grateful you are to be able to Read, to Love, to Breathe all on your own?  Life is a Gift of a magnitude we so quickly forget.

Thank you for living here with me, in this palace of curiosity, on this globe of inhales and exhales.

What is the last time you took a leap of faith?  What does that question even mean?

I started writing a blog weeks ago, that I will finish sometime, about how I learned and learn to love my body.  THAT, in this culture, is a leap of faith.  To believe that every hair on my body, every inch of my body, every bit contained within, is beautiful… well, for most of us this is a leap of faith.  But if you just imagine, and consider, and take that leap, the reward can be worth far more than the effort to get there.

Tonight I realize part the reason I get so much out of my Yoga and nature practices is that I am willing to take these leaps of faith.  In fact, I would argue that in some ways, the leap of faith – and leap of imagination – is at the heart of what practice is.

Can you imagine, right now, feeling the light in the room land on your skin and soften it?  It doesn’t have to be logical, but can you imagine how it feels?  Can you imagine it so vividly that you begin to actually feel a softening on your skin?  And maybe in your heart?  Can you take the leap of faith that is is physically possible to experience things that are not rational, and may not fall into any of your beliefs, but that may be extraordinarily beautiful, and insightful?

Let’s simplify it a bit.  Think of someone you love.  Can you imagine softening your heart just a bit more and feeling your love just a bit more deeply for that person?  Maybe by remembering something especially wonderful that she or he did?  Can you take the leap of faith that it may be safe to open your heart that much more, and that the experience of loving itself will make that risk worth it?

Maybe practice is as simple as that – taking a leap of faith by imagining something  new is possible, or that something beautiful can stretch a bit further, and acting on it.

Part of my daily practice is this leap of faith that something gracious and Light actually does live me, and stands me, and breathes me.  And if I trust enough to take that leap of faith every day, maybe it acts through me and unfolds something radiantly beautiful for a client, a student, a friend, or myself.

Another leap of faith is forgiveness.  Who can stretch so far to deeply and fully forgive when it has hurt so deeply?  Some of the most radical freedom and joy in my life has come from such leaps of faith.  From forgiving the impossible-to-forgive, I have found deep joy.  And am so grateful.  What are we forgiving anyway, except someone else’s story?

And yet another difficult leap of faith is letting go of expectations.  It’s one thing to forgive, but to forgive and love people without expectation.  How to do that?  I mean really…. we are so deeply programmed to have expectation.  Actually, it is impossible to let go of all of them.  But can we begin to just enjoy the beingness no matter what the flavor?  Can I love you even when you are being the most difficult, stubborn, crazy person?  Can I love the weather when it’s cold and rainy and I dressed for sunshine and 80 degrees?  Can I surrender my preferences and really radically love it all as it is?  Sure I can, but it takes that leap, over and over.  It takes surrendering my own story about it all SO well that I can really let go and love anyway.  It’s tricky.  It’s full life practice.

How do we take these leaps in small ways every day?  Maybe by noticing the narrative in your head that is angry or frustrated…. you could take the leap of letting that one story go… really let it go, and consider letting it be beautiful, just as it is.  Even if only for one day of freedom from that story, one day of a bit more satisfaction, and maybe more smiles…

It’s amazing how smiling can actually soften your heart.  Have you tried smiling more?  It really does lift your mood.

So we all have leaps of faith and imagination, and they are all risky… but maybe a daily practice can be as simple as beginning to recognize these opportunities and taking small leaps.  And trying out one extra smile a day… and see what happens.

What happens for you?

It’s time to practice and a part of me resists… lingers in the comfort of a couch in the morning, thinking of tea and some tasty food, and maybe practice later….

It’s time to practice and a part of me opens… longs for the sweet feelings that arise because of giving so much…

It’s time to recognize the face that I so often hide, the revelation of my beauty that cannot be missed when I give everything to that forward bend.  Everything inside me shaking, longing, aroused, exhausted, strong, steady, loving in ways that blow the world wide open.

It’s time to love every cell of my body and listen to the hum of truth coursing through me.  It’s time to press the intensity of my everything into my deep devotion for a universe of light, and imagine that I know how it feels to love every speck of starfire and stardust completely.

It’s time to listen to her voice and be thankful for the only true Yoga teacher I believe in.

It’s time to listen to my voice and be thankful for this opportunity to radiate so strong I may explode into bliss.  If I do not return, I am only freed into love.

It’s time to love my practice as tenderly, fully, and devotedly as I love my lover.

It’s time to embrace all edges with the fullness of breath and surrender to the journey as I am swallowed by the love that burns stars.

It’s time to practice, and just before or after the explosion happens I am softened into a puddle of grace, perfectly knowing the pool of light that lives me.  The moments of softening after the edge, the moments of near madness leading to brilliance, bring me back to this mat every day.  Linger my love across a page…  Linger my heart in the center of the universe…. And linger my heart, my legs, my self longing for more.  And appreciating what has been done.

At the end of it all, I am fully enveloped in the reward of the deepest, softest and strongest forward bend.  Thank Sofia for making me stay there for so long.

At the end of it all, I slowly move, fully renewed.  High on the fullness and beauty of a body, a mind, a heart, a spirit, that has pressed everything into a mat yet again.

Pressed everything as love into a world again, into the cosmos yet again.

Pressed my deepest love into the very fibers of my body, and emerge consumed by the love that lives me.

How can I love the world even more deeply?

It’s time to practice.

I can’t imagine how much beauty must exist in this world.  It’s overflowing.  How can we miss it, ever?  I know we do miss it often, just don’t see it in the most mundane of places, but how can that be?  A paradise of misery and love and curiosity acting through every form we encounter…

I just heard that Mars is now going out of retrograde, after being retrograde for a very long time.  I don’t know much about it, but I can tell you that I am thankful for the stars and what they are bringing right now.

When I started this blog a few weeks ago, it was because I woke up one day feeling something stirring in me that I hadn’t felt in ages, but used to always be there.  What is it?  I have no idea, but I am quite clear that when I was a kid I called it the Holy Spirit, and as an adult I always assumed it was just that flow of divine grace that illuminates every one of our lives.  It’s not that it has ever been gone, but it kicked back up a notch about then… like a knock on the door inside my head sweetly but strongly calling me to wake back up…

This Mars retrograde thing… maybe someone will leave a comment and tell us about it.  Maybe it has made lots of work for me in the challenging ways, maybe not.  I do know that I have never been so happy for spring.  Every few days a new view of stunning clarity that I had been missing before.  Suddenly those things that have been spinning around reminding me of the humbling sides of being human, have started to fall away and become a garden of clear pathways and I can look up and see entire mountains that were missing just days ago.  Life is so beautiful.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?  Do you notice how beautiful this world is?  Can you feel deep inside you that the day is amazing, and the world around you is welcoming you?  Do you smile?  If not, I highly recommend these practices.  Over the last few years I have been shaken out of these most simple morning experiences by a series of moves and changing of daily patterns.  While my days are still filled with beauty, I realize that my morning moments have shifted a bit, and I am so glad to invite them back.  We can all benefit by a few moments of pure unrestricted gratitude to start the day.  Sometimes as I woke feeling all warm and fuzzy about living in such beauty, I would begin to imagine the day ahead of me.  Now at these times, my days were crazy too – not tranquil like my old mountain homes, but bustling with madness as I drove into the the cities.  So I would just scan over the day and imagine it filled with good things and graceful flow pervading my day.  It would be hard to now convince me that these moments didn’t improve the quality of my days.  I think I’ll do it tomorrow.  How about you?

We are so fortunate to have this gift of choice.  No matter what we are stuck in, we can make small important choices to change the situation for the better.  For me, the most important thing is to make time for the practices that make me feel good.  No matter what is going on or how urgent it is, I can always take time – even if only a few minutes – and come back to my center.  Life can be full, and brutal, and can kick your ass at every corner.  And it is the perfect school to keep finding the path back to your personal love.  That love that emanates from feeling good in your own heart, your own body, your own wandering mind, your own gentle and strong spirit.  And this path is the hardest to find when we get stuck in our own stories about what is important, and shoulds verses choices.  The idea that there is no time for any practice… the lack of motivation.  Motivation comes from action too.  Beginning it will bring the motivation.  It’s a choice.  A choice to fall into that love inside you… that love that bursts through you as a kid, and just wants to fall all over you and your life as an adult… despite popular belief.  That love that existed before you were told you are imperfect.  But hey, maybe you are perfect after all….  A perfect expression of life looking out into possibility, and looking in to find that infinite reservoir of love that lifts your smile another notch…

I love you so deeply it’s almost painful to feel my gratitude, just to know you are sitting here and maybe feeling something sweet inside, pressing your heart and mind out in the world through your body, gracing these words with your eyes or ears… It’s a favorite thing to love humanity this deeply… whether for a moment or a lifetime… to feel flesh in love with all that flesh yearning to express and find truth around the corner…. before we all find it was inside all along….